NBA playoffs in Las Vegas? League mulls ‘host’ city instead of home-away travel
The NBA could host the playoffs in just one or two neutral venues instead of doing the home-away format to lessen travel amid the coronavirus pandemic should the season resume soon.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has said Las Vegas and Orlando are two of the top cities mentioned as hosts for the playoffs.
Sources: Silver told players that he still hoped that the playoffs would include a 7-game series in every round. He told players that those series could move faster without the need for travel, staying in a single site. Orlando and Vegas still tops.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 8, 2020
Many other cities have inquired about hosting.
In his report, Woj details that Silver thinks it would be the best for the NBA to just stay in a single place or two since there won’t be fans watching anytime soon due to the present situation.
The commissioner added it would be for the players’ own safety.
Silver said returning to play this season at one or two potential sites — including Orlando and Las Vegas — made the most sense, and that no decision on the league season needed to be made before June.
“There’s no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there’s not going to be fans,” Silver said. “We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start.”
Silver allowed that there would need to be some restrictions in place at a single or two-site scenario, but he told players: “The goal isn’t to have you go to a market for two months to sit in hotel room.”
Las Vegas hosts the annual NBA Summer League. Orlando also used to host games for the Summer League.
If the NBA decides to push through, such scenario would mean no homecourt advantage for higher seeded teams. Instead, it will only be the playoff positioning and match-ups that would matter once games resume.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers still lead their respective conferences in the 2020 team standings.